JANUARY 16, 2024

Today, a Little of This, A Little of That To Look Through

What’s Going On?

Lots going on currently, as the election season officially began Monday night. Trump did win over 50% of the Iowa vote and the next two candidates were almost tied, so not a two person contest going forward yet, which is unfortunate. One more candidate, the abrasive business man, ended his campaign last night. Now we will start thinking about New Hampshire, South Carolina, etc. But there is more than politics out there to think about. Let’s take a cruise and see what comes up.

I mentioned last week that there was a lot of good news out there to celebrate, so much that the blog on this would be a two part posting. Still true, but we are going to hold a bit on that second chapter.  Hang on, its coming! And I think you will like it when it does come out.


Some interesting notes here. Hunter Biden’s surprise appearance at a meeting of the committee seeking to hammer him was a pretty clever and gutsy bit of theater. The committee, once again, looked foolish, petty, and short of adults. Well played, sir.

Speaker Johnson continues to worry me in many ways but surprise me in others. The deal to avoid a government shutdown was not great but doable. The decision for another continuing resolution was the only thing that made sense and he is offering it despite the tantrums of his far right. Some moderate Democrats are indicating they might vote for him to save these agreements if his right wing tries to fire another Speaker.

Wouldn’t it be interesting of what is left of moderate Republicans and centrist Democrats decided to govern and tell the freedom caucus to go suck eggs? Not a completely impossible thing to imagine. Oh, and remember the Republican majority is down to 3 votes now. A couple of more illnesses or other early retirements and the Democrats could have the majority back this year. Imagine what could be done over the next year.


The Republicans always like to make crime an issue, even though most of this is local not national in terms of who manages the efforts. Their problem this year is that almost every category of crime has gone down during the Biden administration. Murder alone is down a whopping 12%, with lower numbers than the last 3 decades. Not only that, the worst rates are in states and municipalities with Republican leadership.


I was a bit taken aback by the Pope’s attack on surrogate births. Turns out this has long been an issue with him, which also surprised me. I imagine that if he had taken the opportunity to talk to surrogates and families who took this route, he would come to understand his opposition was based on remote theological choices that don’t match real life.

Coming after his pronouncements on blessing some who had previously been ostracized by his church, it seemed out of character for this pope. It also was a reminder of how limited religions are and how often they are diverted. We have a blog on this last point coming up that is sure to upset some, but we are where we are.

The other religious observation today is on Christian Nationalists and the more extreme Evangelicals. These have always been cults for all practical purposes and now they have aligned themselves with Donald Trump, saying he is God’s chosen one. Move over, Jim Jones – another Kool-Aid crowd is coming into your space.


This is the perpetual American curse, isn’t it? One would have expected we would be further along by now. Still, all the fights about being woke, gifhting DEI, bleaching school curricula are fights not just because people refuse to face our history or address our current shortfalls; these are fights because others stand up and refuse to ignore what is our responsibility. Maybe we will get there yet.

I ran across some very interesting data, made easier to comprehend by good use of charts on how racism, in legacy and in current forms, still hurts people and holds us back as a country. From Business Insider. I wanted to provide you a link to this, but since published a couple of weeks ago, the link has been behind a paywall. Understandable, but a bummer. The charts showed in clear language area after area in American life where we set up barriers and then pretended they were not there. We can do better.

So, How Cruel Could One Get?

Apparently, there is no bottom line for some.

Thirteen Republican governors turned down federal funds to feed hungry school kids because they worried about government getting too big and fostering dependence. Hungry children sacrificed on the alter of politics. Ayn Rand would be so pleased.

In Texas, Governor Abbot directed state troops to block federal access to state parks that were on the border. Federal border agents were blocked from answering calls for help in the river. A mother and two children drowned. Would really like to see charges filed on this one.

Good Reading

I have long admired Kareem Abdul -Jabbar, first as an athlete, then as a thoughtful commentor on a wide range of issues. I just discovered he has a regular blog and it is excellent reading. This is a thoughtful man who also writes well. I encourage you to check out his blog. Like most these days, it is free with a paid option. Find it at https://kareem.substack.com .

See you next week.

Bill Clontz

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4 replies to JANUARY 16, 2024

  1. Good summary of issues.

    My only comment is that I am hoping that, due to the very cold weather in Iowa, many of the DiSantis and Haley voters stayed home as they knew there was no chance to win. I feel there were many who would have voted if the weather were better.

    • Likely even more stayed home because the networks called it 30 minutes after voting started. Should not call an election till voting ends.

  2. “gifhting DEI” ?

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